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Take Part – Star Wars Reading Day II!

starwars image

Could my local library be any more awesome?? Sorry to everyone that is Pacific Northwest only. 

Here’s all the info:

“Star Wars© Reads Day is officially October 5, but we wanted to celebrate reading and a certain galaxy far, far away longer. Come for special events at our libraries, including an opportunity to have your photo taken with Star Wars© characters, a show with Charlie Williams (The Noiseguy) and Lego© building stations with Bricks 4 Kidz. All events are free! Join costumed members of Alpha Base, a chapter of the Rebel Legion and Garrison Titan of the 501st Legion for photos during the first hour of each event. Please bring your own camera. Lego 4 Kidz will have Lego© stations for building your own creations. During the second hour, Charlie Williams, The Noiseguy, presents a storytelling parody of the Star Wars© movies with special props and toys. See (and hear) reenactments of classic scenes. You will even learn to make some cool sounds to tell your own stories. 
Please bring non-perishable food donations for our support of local food banks. 
Alpha Base is a chapter of the Rebel Legion and Garrison Titan of the 501st Legion are volunteer members of world-wide Star Wars © costuming clubs and help others through charity work and community service.”

Where they’ll be at:

Bellevue Library
Saturday, September 21
11am–1pm

Snoqualmie Library
Saturday, September 21
2:30–4:30pm
Held at the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA, 35018 SE Ridge Street, Snoqualmie.

Algona-Pacific Library
Saturday, October 5
11am–1pm
Held at Pacific-Algona Community Center,
305 Milwaukee Avenue, Pacific

Newport Way Library
Saturday, October 5
2:30– 4:30pm
Sammamish Library
Saturday, October 19
11am–1pm

Bothell Library
Saturday, October 19
2:30–4:30pm
Free tickets for the Charlie Williams show at 3:30pm will be distributed at the Information Desk, while supplies last, beginning Saturday, October 12.

What’s your local library up to? You never know what’s awaiting you at the library!

 

Book Review – Ascent by M. C. Zappitello

Ascent CoverAscent infoCassie Campbell doesn’t have any memories before she was seven. However, things just haven’t been normal since her adoption. Cassie hates being in large crowds of people, she can feel their thoughts that cause severe panic attacks. That is, until she meets William Stuart. Suddenly her world is nothing and everything but Will Stuart.

Together the pair unlock the secrets of Cassie’s past. Will didn’t meet Cassie by chance but has been patiently waiting for the right time to re-enter her life. As she comes to terms with her past alongside her future, her strength will be tested. The only thing she knows for certain is that her life is Will Stuart and nothing can go on without him.

UGH. That is pretty much the basis of my review. What a letdown from Amazon Prime. I am kicking myself for not doing further research in regards to how this is published. (it’s self-published by Amazon) I should have known better and this was one of the most painful books I have ever read.

This is basically a knockoff of Twilight but for the Christian market (Twilight is written by a Mormon and her characters do reflect this if one reads closely enough). The writing is extremely poor, so much so that multiple sentences are constantly repeated right after each other. Although Cassie is seventeen there is a lot of SAT vocabulary mixed into the fiction and I found this as a poor choice for the Young Adult market. Cassie is also a weak character that is only concerned with her love for Will, ignoring her adoptive parents in the process.

The couple are also completely obsessed with having sex with each other, but must refrain for ‘God’. Not only do I find this as such an un-Christian aspect but Cassie also attempts to commit suicide, which is never ok in the faith. Two themes that aren’t Christian? I understand the author may have been trying to heed to modern day market trends but her ideas don’t have any substance and there is no area this would fit into.

I can’t recommend this book for Christian markets because I don’t think it has anything that would put parent’s minds at ease. However, there are too many religious references for this to even breach the modern YA market that it’s no wonder it was self-published.

I wish there was something nice I could say about this book but there isn’t. There’s too much going on without a connected focus. How this will last for another two books, I don’t know and I don’t want to follow through either. Please stay far away unless you’d like to contradict my review. All other thoughts are welcome.

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden – February Vintage YA

AnnieThis month’s Vintage YA is very on theme for February! Sadly, I haven’t read this title myself, and my local library doesn’t have it available for check out. (It’s on special reserve or something) I do plan on reading the book eventually, but with a pending move in the works I’m trying not to increase my amount ‘stuff’. Regardless, I feel that this book needs special mention. Here’s the summary provided by Goodreads:

“This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. This book is so truthful and honest; it has been banned from many school libraries and even publicly burned in Kansas City.

Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Nancy Garden has the distinction of being the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending. Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.”

I would also like to mention that this book is on my YA Banned Books Bracelet, which I wrote about for last month’s Literary Inspired Item.

I loved the idea of this book. A teenage lesbian story filled with love and heartache. It’s a coming of age story that there are rarely others to compare it too. Everyone experiences love for a first time and it isn’t always with the hottest guy at school, or an undead vampire. This is an example of power to women, in this case, young women on the right to freely express whom they want to love.

This Valentines Day should be celebrated by all of those in love, and with the progression of more states in the US making gay marriage legal, I can only hope that one-day people all over the world can love freely. Thank you Nancy Garden for writing this book and paving the way for girls who love girls to read about others that feel the same way they do.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall Cover

Before I Fall Details

February 12th, also known as ‘Cupid Day’ for senior Samantha Kingston at Thomas Jefferson High School. Every American High School has a day like this. Students buy flowers, write a message and send them to whomever throughout the day. It’s a race for popularity to see who receives the most. Sam’s one of the most popular girls in school along with her best friends Lindsay, Ally and Elody. Her boyfriend Rob is the hottest guy in school and tonight she’s going to lose her virginity to him.

With popularity comes a way to act and for Sam this is no different. Cruel and cold to all the other students in her class, she doesn’t bat an eye to painful pranks pulled by Lindsay against her enemy Juliet Sykes. When the group attend a party by geeky guy Kent in school, Sam watches as her life pools at her feet. Tired and drunk from the festivities, Sam sits in the front of the car as Lindsay gets behind the wheel. They were supposed to make it home, Sam is too young to die, but the car hits something and suddenly she’s falling.

However, that isn’t the end of Sam’s story as she wakes up to a brand new February 12th. Stuck in the ‘in between’, Sam must figure why she’s reliving her last day on Earth. A journey of self-discovery that comes too late, Samantha Kingston, this was your life.

This is the kind of book that you might not originally like whilst reading, but it’s after you finish that it creeps into your heart. Sam Kingston is your typical mean girl and I really struggled with her character throughout most of the book. Her redeeming qualities took forever to come about and I felt as if most of the novel was just an excuse for her to piss all over everyone simply because she could.

Yet, the ending gives me what I want and as each day begins anew there’s a little bit more of Sam that is less snobbish and more genuine. This isn’t a story of the Mean Girls; it’s a story behind every insecure teenager trying to get through High School in one piece. Sam does evolve and I grew to like her for learning to stand up for herself. This is the kind of book that does take you back to those four years when everyone though they were invincible, that the future was bright and open. You’ll anxiously await turning the pages, wondering what Sam is going to do or learn next.

Many thanks to Stacey of PrettyBooks for this book!

Fallen by Lauren Kate

A truly spectacular cover.

It’s rare to find a book that only has one cover around the world.

Lucinda Price is seventeen, has had her head shaved by her parents and deposited at the Sword & Cross reform school. It’s gonna be a great year.  Her first day is filled with meeting the other students, following the rules and him. Daniel: the fellow teenager that can only be described as beautiful. As their eyes meet, Luce’s heart thumps madly and Daniel, he flips her off.

There’s something about that him that prevents Luce was staying away. She’s drawn to him like a former lover, but with every step she gains he pushes her further away. As she tries to adjust to this caged life, Luce’s feelings are constricted between for desire for Daniel and affection for the thoughtful and charming Cam. With tough and rebellious reform school girls making her life a living nightmare, Luce is determined to keep her secret that landed her in this place a secret. But there’s more to this world of Sword & Cross and Luce is stuck in the middle of it. 

I liked the premise of Fallen. It had a good mix of mystery but for adults like me I could still make some educated guesses. I love, love, loved that this was set in a reform boarding school! This isn’t a privileged boarding school, but a dark and dismal setting that really made the world come alive. For some kids, this is their life. It’s a jail that serves as a school where the teachers try but after so many years….

It’s good versus evil mashed with a love triangle. Who does the reader want our Luce to end up with? Cam or Daniel? Daniel or Cam? This is the current YA of excellence and it made me feel like I was seventeen again. Yet, there’s so much more to the story and this first book only lightly touches on the countless secrets that the main characters are holding within. The series finished this year and I am beyond excited that I can read through the rest at my leisure. I hope Kate is able to keep the story going with more depth rather than just focusing on forbidden love. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Family is important. It’s just June and Greta, the Elbus daughters. Their parents are accountants and life goes on during the late 80’s. Their uncle Finn is an artist and June’s Godfather. He’s painting a portrait of the girls and June adores all time she gets to spend with him, while Greta fidgets. Finn is sick. He’s dying.

Fourteen is too young to lose an uncle, especially to a disease that no one understands. As June’s world fades, a secret from her uncle’s past reaches out to her. There’s a man who was close to Finn, even more than June. She’s torn between wanting to know him and resenting him for all the time he received with her beloved uncle. Unable to move on from her grief, and with others pushing her towards false starts. June turns her back on practicality and takes a leap of faith where no one else is ready to believe.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is emotional and raw. It’s been over twenty years since AIDS caused an uneducated panic and Brunt has brilliantly captured that timeline. She’s also taken the approach of a teenager who loves someone with this disease and refuses to believe where others accept the first thing they hear. June is wise beyond her years, but she does remain essentially a child. Watching her grow through trauma, grief and teenage angst is more powerful than I expected.

The symbolism used throughout the book is stunning and towards the end I was almost in tears. This is a YA crossover at it’s controversial finest. Contemporary and striking you’ll find yourself eager to get back to June. With relatable family struggles this novel will shake your core. YA doesn’t have to be supernatural and full of romance. There can also be a pure coming of age story where love transcends and Brunt has crafted a magical piece of work. 

Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Valerie was just being a normal sixteen-year-old, like all the other kids at her school. One weekend her mom went out of town. Naturally Valerie and best friend Mimi throw a party for their Mormon and non-practising Mormon friends (though neither girl believes in the faith themselves). It’s wild, loud and everyone is having fun. Val starts drinking due to her disappointment of her crush Adam not showing up, everyone’s having a great time why can’t she?

When Adam shows up, Val is ecstatic, and drunk. They excuse themselves in front of everyone and sneak off to the living room where she proceeds to throw up all over his shoes. Hung over and miserable the next morning, Val struggles to make breakfast for her six-year-old sister Ainsley. She just wants to lie on the couch and sleep off her headache. As she drifts off she realises she isn’t alone. Adam is suddenly there, everywhere. Confused over her feelings for Adam and what he has done, Val finds strength to report what’s happened. It’s only the beginning of her lifelong journey to be more than just the ‘rape girl’.

I requested this book because I wanted a different kind of YA to read. However, I was sorely disappointed but I am also conflicted with this novella. I think the premise of the book had a lot of potential, but the execution was poor. The story was rushed and there was no time to get to know Valerie, her likes, dislikes, or any kind of personality. Also, every male character except for the brother who’s away at college is written as a ‘villain’.

I understand that this is an important story to tell and that it’s also a very personal one for the author. For that Klein has done a stand out job for describing the process of standing up as a rape victim. Even as Valerie fights with her own demons she never steps down for doing the right thing. The few parts that are well written, you can tell that the author knows what she wants for her characters and what she wants to reflect to the reader. When writing about a tender subject, it can be a challenge to follow the delicate line. I praise Klein for tackling such a personal battle, but I wish that more time were spent on the narrative. Make it 300 pages and give us more in depth characters. I was always on Valerie’s side, but I knew there was more to her and I was sad to see that.

Many thanks to the publisher Namelos for providing this ARC on Net Galley!